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USS Tampa crewMembers of the USS Tampa's crew sometime between 1913 and 1915. The Coast Guard cutter served in World War I. On Sept. 26, 1918, a German submarine sank the ship, killing all 130 men on board.

Coast Guard to award Purple Hearts to USS Tampa crew killed during WWI 

By Rose L. Thayer
via the Stars and Stripes newspaper web site

Anna Bonaparte was 4 years old when her father James Wilkie died on board the USS Tampa on Sept. 26, 1918. Though she didn’t have many memories of her father, she constantly spoke about him and his service in the Coast Guard, said her son Wallace Bonaparte.

Next month, Bonaparte, a former Army captain, will travel from his home in Charleston, S.C., to Washington to receive a Purple Heart in honor of his grandfather, as part of an initiative to recognize the 115 servicemembers who died more than 100 years ago on board the ship.

Anna Bonaparte died in 2012, and Wallace can only imagine how proud she would have been to see her father receive a medal for his service.

“Being ex-military, I do know that it is an honor to be a recipient and it is an exceptional honor,” said the 77-year-old Vietnam War veteran.

Wilkie was a 29-year-old cook on the Tampa, a Coast Guard cutter, when a German submarine sank it off the coast of England during the final months of World War I. All 131 men aboard died. The event was the single largest loss of life for the service branch during World War I, and accounted for more than half of all Coast Guard deaths during the war.

Read the entire article on the Stars and Stripes web site here:

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